Beaches,  Cook Islands

Cook Islands Travel Guide

The Cook Islands are one of the most beautiful places that I’ve ever seen in my life. The water is so incredible blue, its nature is so preserved and the people who lives there are also amazing! It’s not a famous tourist destination around the world what makes this place even better than any other. You can have this wonderful entire paradise only for you. I highly recommend this heaven on earth for couples, families or anyone who wants to relax and enjoying a perfect paradise!

Location

The Cook Islands are located in the South Pacific Ocean, northeast of New Zealand, between French Polynesia and American Samoa. There are 15 major islands spread over 2,200,000 km2 of ocean, divided into two distinct groups: the Southern Cook Islands and the Northern Cook Islands.

I visited two of the most known islands: Rarotonga and Aitutaki . They’re both a must if you’re planning a travel to Cook Islands.

Rarotonga and Aitutaki tourist map.

Best time to Visit Cook Islands

There is no bad time weather-wise to visit the Cook Islands, as it’s a tropical paradise although the months of April, May, September, and October usually provide the best combination of sunshine and warmth.

I visited the Cook Islands in the end of August and beginning of September and I spent 15 days there. The weather changes a bit there as it’s a tropical island and you need to follow the sun around the place to enjoy the best weather.

A bit of story…

It was our 10th marriage anniversary celebration, so my husband made a surprise for me and booked the flights to this beautiful destination months before. We had enough time to plan everything and making our celebration memorable. I really recommend this place for honeymooners or marriage anniversary.

Flights 

There are few options of direct flights from Australia with Air New Zealand, Jetstar and Virgin. Direct flights from Sydney to Rarotonga (main island) are usually around 6 hours.

We’ve got flights from JetStar and we flew from Sydney with stopover in Auckland and than Auckland to Rarotonga. If you’re looking for cheaper prices JetStar is a good option.

What to do and what to see

There are many things to do in this gorgeous place. Once you’ve landed in Rarotonga (Raro) you will notice that the time slows down. The airport is very small and cute, you will be welcomed with their beautiful music and its friendly locals.

There’s a small Duty Free at the Rarotonga airport where you can buy some alcohol, chocolates and international products before enter in the country.

As soon as you arrive, you will also find a good tourist map with great information about the island which is very helpful, but it’s super easy to drive around the island as it is very small, you can go around the island in 30 minutes!

It’s funny to see that there are two main streets or only two bus routes called clockwise and anti-clockwise!

You can rent a car or scooter to move around the island, you’ll need your valid driver license for both but you can also use their public transport (buses) or use bikes as well. We hired a car and I recommend it for your comfy stay.

Internet access

It’s not easy to have internet connection in the island. The hotels do not provide it for free or unlimited. You can purchase a SIM card for about $50 available for two weeks, but be aware that it’s very limited.

But the good thing about this is that it’s an amazing opportunity to disconnect and enjoy this unique paradise, its stunning views, to swim, snorkelling, hiking, also enjoying the simple things as taste a tropical fruit, appreciate the sun rise, sunset and the stars.

As I said in the beginning of this post, you will have the entire island for you, as it is a big resort. You can just stay in one hotel/ villa and have a lunch or dinner in other hotels. It’s a perfect way to know everything in the island!

 Top beaches

Muri Lagoon

When you want to experience everything that Raro offers in one place, it’s Muri Beach. Unbelievable snorkelling, walking and beach combing, lagoon tours, water sports and great restaurants. Also, a calm destination to sit on the beach, it’s my favourite beach in Rarotonga.

There is a really good half day tour with Captain Tamas and I highly recommend it! They do the best 4 hours floating over the turquoise waters, stopping for a snorkeling on the way. We also had an awesome barbecue fish lunch on the beach, with a beautiful local music from the Captain Tamas crew. Just amazing!

Aroa Beach (Arorangi)

White sands, a fantastic lagoon for snorkelling, swing and great walk! It’s easy to visit the beaches around the island. You will be able to check all of them! They’re all pretty and you can’t miss any of them!

Black Rock Beach

Black rock has fantastic fossilized coral and shells that are really beautiful. Walking around Black rock is pretty easy and the lagoon is beautiful, really good snorkelling and it’s easy to park.

Titikaveka Beach

This beach, like most beaches on Rarotonga, is covered in soft sand with the odd bit of corral. The water is clear and full of fish.

Mountains and Hike

The Needle

This tall, rocky pinnacle can be spotted from several locations on the island and is a great hiking challenge for those who enjoy a good climb.

This is a nice adventure and you don’t need to be a mountain climber to do it but to be ready to expect the unexpected. I had to stop along the way few times, so take a bottle of water with you, wear great shoes for walk or hiking and just use common sense for your own safety!

Aitutaki – A little slice of heaven

Aitutaki is another island and it’s not located in Raro (main island). To access this paradise you’ll need to fly from Rarotonga to Aitutaki over an hour. There is a local airline called Air Rarotonga that does this route and I recommend you to book the flights, acommodation while you’re still planning your travel, so you’ll be able to spend few days there as well. I’ve do a day tour but I felt that I wish to stay longer, so I recommend you to stay at least more 3 days there. You also have the opportunity to do a day tour if you don’t have time.

My Day Trip to Aitutaki

I had the opportunity to discover Aitutaki’s beauty taking a day trip from Rarotonga flying with the amazing service of the local Air Rarotonga.

Air Rarotonga it’s the local airline from Cook Islands and you can go to other remote islands from Raro flying with them. We had the opportunity to take off from the cabin with the pilot and co-pilot, which was an incredible experience and we won’t forget how amazing is the Polynesian ocean from the cabin.

The day tour includes a cruise on the lagoon which is the best of the Cook Islands! I’ve done with the local The Vaka Cruise and it was memorable. They offer an amazing tropical lunch, delightful with their local music which I will never forget. You will see the Aitutaki lagoon from the cruise with all these turquoise colours. One of the best trips and places that I’ve ever seen in my life!

Certainly, a visit to Cook Islands is not complete without visiting Aitutaki.

The breathtaking of its crystal clear turquoise waters will be the most beautiful place on earth you’ve ever seen in life! This is the most beautiful place I’ve ever visited with no doubt!

Better than only read my words, check out my videos and photos from there! Many people say photos are not the reality and I can tell you that is really true, because the place is more beautiful than my photos!

Accommodation

Rarotonga – Ikurangi Eco Resort

I’m going to create a specific post detailing all about my experience at Ikurangi Eco Resort, but to be short, this is an amazing luxury glamping experience, where you will be very close to the nature with all the comfort from an luxury accommodation, which I love! You can stay in the tents or choose a cottage. Both are amazing!

It’s a lovely retreat, the breakfast is very health and natural, you gonna love it! You will wake up and their lovely staff will delivery your breakfast every morning to your door.

There’s a pool and the views are incredible. They’re not located in front of the beach but they have beautiful views to the mountains! It’s very secluded place!

More info: https://www.ikurangi.com

And if you liked this post and want to see more photos from Cook Islands or other travels, don’t forget to follow me on Instagram (@HeyCassiTravel) , leave a comment or maybe share this post with your friends! 

Happy travels!

Cassi

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